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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Pt. 1

posted Nov 26, 2014, 8:14 PM by Vu Nguyen

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The Hunger Games
Film update: I just saw The Hunger Games: Catching Fire at the dollar theater. We saw this at the New Hope Cinema Grill, for about $12, you can get meal and a film, which isn't bad. …

I've only read the first Hunger Games book by Suzanne Collins, but wasn't compelled to follow up with further reading, so watching the new The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Pt. 1 movie came as a surprise to me as anyone who's ever seen the movie or read the book for the first time.

This is a review for the film, and I'll try and avoid spoilers and stick to things you already know about the series (assuming you already watched the first two films).

As the title indicate, this is only half the story. If you remember at the end of Hunger Games: Catching Fire, that there were some major reveals and ended with a cutoff fade to black, right in the middle of something major.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Pt. 1 picks up right after the second movie, so I suggest rewatching the Bluray to refresh your memory. The third movie introduced us to some new characters because of a certain new District. The characters were handled well - unlike the first movie which had a million characters (all the "tributes" in the Hunger Games).

Also, maybe it is just me, but I had trouble distinguishing between Katniss' boyfriend Gale and Sam. In the movie, there is less focus on the other Hunger Games tribute, but more on the military leaders.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Pt. 1 works like a war game, with moves and counter moves... and is somewhat slightly different than what the first two Hunger Games films were about.

Now for some minor complaints about the movie:

  • There is no possible way one arrow can take down two massive airplane bombers.
  • They have televisions in the bunkers and diner hall, yet everyone have to gather around for the rebel president's address (which sometime was only one line!) The same can be said to all the Districts - why do they all have to gather around town square to view President Snow on the television screen? They don't have email in the future?
  • If they really wanted us to get excited about the next film, they could have ended the film when President Snow said something like "Don't you think I don't know?" - that would have been a great cliffhanger.

  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Pt. 1 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
    Republic Records
    I haven't heard the two Republic Records soundtracks, except for what I heard in the film. The pop soundtrack called The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Pt. 1 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), is curated by Lorde (who also provided "Yellow Flicker Beat" in the soundtrack twice as her original song and a "Kanye West Rework" version) and features Stromae, Pusha T, Q-Tip, Haim, CHVRCHES, Tove Lo, Charli XCX, Simon Le Bon, Major Lazer, Ariana Grande, Raury, and Grace Jones. The only time I can remember hearing the Lorde song is at the closing credits, so I think the pop songs were either subtly used in the film, or not at all. Which is fine, because hearing a radio hit song in this futuristic movie might take you out of the film.

    The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt.1 (Original Motion Picture Score)
    Republic Records
    The other soundtrack, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt.1 (Original Motion Picture Score), is for the more traditionalists, the (mostly) instrumental score of the film by James Newtown Howard. The standout track will likely be "The Hanging Tree", featuring vocals by star Jennifer Lawrence. If you've seen the new film, you know that Katniss starts singing this song with the mockingjays providing the background backbeat. I know that sounds incredibly cartoonish, but the way the movie shot it, it felt natural.

    So what can I say? Of all the The Hunger Games films, I felt this one was the strongest ... but perhaps it would have been a much better movie if we got the resolution/payoff of part 2. I guess we'll just have to wait a year to find out how this trilogy ends.

    The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt.1 is playing at all major theaters now.


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